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In this photo released by the Saudi Royal Palace, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, is greeted by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, upon his arrival at an airport in Cairo, Egypt, late Monday, June 20, 2022. Image Credit: AP

Cairo: Egyptian President Abdul Fattah El Sisi and Saudi Crown Prince Tuesday met in Cairo, the first leg of a regional tour by the Saudi royal less than a month before a trip by US President Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia. Prince Mohammed landed Monday night in Cairo, initiating a tour that is also taking him to Jordan and Turkey. He later left for Amman for talks with King Abdullah II.

Biden is due to pay a July 15-16 visit to Saudi Arabia, his first since he took office in January last year.

El Sisi welcomed the Saudi crown prince at Cairo airport Monday night.

They met Tuesday at the presidential palace in Cairo where they discussed boost of Egyptian-Saudi cooperation. Other issues included the repercussions of the Ukraine war on the Arab region, and coordination of Arab stances ahead of Biden’s trip, according to media reports.

The Saudi crown prince will then fly to Turkey.

In April, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Saudi Arabia for the first time in five years to reset ties strained since the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

El Sisi and the Jordanian monarch will be among Arab leaders who will attend a regional summit hosted by Saudi Arabia for leaders of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Egypt, Jordan and Iraq on July 16. Biden will also attend. The GCC comprises Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

Earlier this week, El Sisi held a trilateral summit with King Abdullah II and Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm Al Sheikh.

Saudi Arabia is a major financial and diplomatic backer of Egypt. Ties between the two Arab heavyweights have thrived since El Sisi took office in mid-2014.

Both countries Tuesday signed 14 agreements valued at $7.7 billion in several fields including energy, logistics, infrastructures and food industries, Egypt’s government investment agency said.

Trade exchange between Egypt and Saudi Arabia has remarkably grown, standing at $47.7 billion dollars over the last six years, according to official figures.

Egyptian-Saudi trade exchange reached $9.1 billion last year, against $5.6 billion in 2020, data from the Egyptian state statistics agency showed.

Saudi Arabia is the top Arab investor in Egypt. The kingdom’s investments in Egypt are estimated at over $32 billion through 6,800 companies mainly in construction, tourism, financing, services, agriculture, telecommunications and information technology, according to the Saudi news agency SPA.

Saudi Arabia is also home to a large Egyptian labour community.